Interview With Colin Chappell


Welcome to my bi-weekly interview series. I’m pleased to introduce to you today an interview with dog enthusiast, thoughtful, and entertaining writer, Colin Chappell. He is often accompanied by his friendly and energetic dog Ray. In fact, Ray is one of Colin’s favorite topics. You can visit Colin on his blog: A Dogs Life? (Stories of Me and Him).


interview-colin-and-ray1
Credit: Colin Chappell

1. Please Tell Us A Bit About Yourself?

My name is Colin Chappell. When I was born, my parents were expecting a girl so, when I arrived, they showed great initiative by thumbing through the BBC Radio Times looking for male names. If Colin Yearsley (a classical pianist) had a second name, I would have probably had a second name also; my older sister did. I am originally from Peterborough (U.K.), and now live in Oakville, Ontario, Canada (on the outskirts of Toronto).

I was born immediately after WWII and moved around the U.K. a lot when I was young because both my parents were in the theater. My Dad designed and painted scenery, while my Mum worked in the costumes area.

The introduction of television decimated the demand for theater and my parents had to make some major decisions. Growing up, my Mum held down multiple jobs and my Dad came home only on weekends. He was working approximately one-hundred-miles away from where we lived. My Dad eventually decided to build his own house. He learned how to do this successfully from library books, visiting construction sites, and asking a ton of questions.


2. What Kind of Affect Has Your Childhood Had On You?

I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.

I wanted to be a locomotive driver, but was told that I couldn’t do this job by my Dad. I went to college to pursue a career as ‘Master’ of a cargo ship. I achieved a 2nd Class Honors Certificate and was welcomed into the Blue Star Line. I was ready to join ‘Scottish Star’ in Glasgow; however, I failed a medical exam which blocked my first chosen career path. This was my welcome to the world of adulthood and the realities of the world.


“I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.” – Collin Chappell


3. When Did You Being Writing and Blogging?

I have always enjoyed writing short pieces and songs, but they were always private and I rarely shared my work. I cannot recall how I discovered blogging. But I had already been adopted by my dog Ray and wanted to share our experiences. It was also an opportunity to write publicly which was appealing to me. My blog was officially launched in October, 2014.

Later, my desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray. He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!


4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean to You? Why Do You Write?

Writing is rewarding for many reasons. It allows me to express myself, to be as creative as I can, and to have some tangible evidence of my creativity and expression. No doubt there are psychological benefits to writing also. Poetry is a natural extension of writing because of my earlier days song writing; however, my blog is also my vehicle to present my poetry to the world.

Blogging is the corner stone of my literary endeavors because not only can I now share with the world, but I can receive feedback. I have access to links to bloggers and writers with similar interests and concepts. As well,  I am generally able to create a worldwide network of wonderful people. Over time I have developed friends around the world of all ages, cultures, religious beliefs (etc.) Now I have the pleasure of knowing many details about friends which go well beyond mere blogging.


” . . . [M]y desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray. He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!” – Colin Chappell


interview-colin-and-ray2
Credit: Colin Chappell

5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Is There A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?

Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.

Ray is also hugely inspiring. He is unlike any dog I have ever known. Just by watching him (which I do a lot) I’m invariably provided with the basis for a blog post. I also inspire and motivate myself. I am retired so have the luxury of as much time as I wish to allocate to blogging and writing but I do have many other interests.

There isn’t a particular time of day I enjoy writing more. Although, mornings and late evenings tend to be my most productive times. This is due more to convenience relative to other day to day activities. It’s not that I feel more particularly creative during these times.


7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?

I have two active projects at the moment:

My first priority is promoting my book: Who Said I was up for Adoption? All profits from this book go to the Humane Society whom rescued my beloved Ray. It’s hard to make the whole world aware of a book without investing large sums of money to market it. Self-promoting is more financially feasible, but a difficult and time consuming job.

My second priority is publishing a book of my poems. It is tentatively titled: Tina and Other Stories and could be available Spring 2017. My poetry book is ready to be published but some financial decisions have to be made.

I am uncomfortable making these choices until I have a better grasp of how Ray’s book is selling. Hopefully, I can make a decision within the next six to eight-weeks. I also have various other similar projects ‘on the back burner,’ but they will have to wait.


“Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.” – Colin Chappell 


8. Here is Colin’s book: Who Said I was up for Adoption?

interview-colin-book-cover
Credit: Colin Chappell

You can purchase Colin’s book from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Indigo, Google Play, Nook, and IBooks. Here’s another link to Colin’s page where you can find links to all book sellers noted: HERE.


9. Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing Process? Will You Continue With the Same Process in the Future?

I researched a number of leads before publishing and just as life in general — you get what you pay for. The inexpensive route (a relative term) dictated I take responsibility for areas of publishing I knew nothing about.

If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world because dog lovers exist in every country. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’s Humane Society.

My compromise was to have a contract with FriesenPress. They provided their expertise in cover design, book layout, proofreading, overall suggestions, legalities, and ensuring Ray’s book was available to all major book retailers. Regrets? I have none, although, what I learned during this publishing process will reduce the cost of publishing my poetry book!


10. Do You Have A Particular Writing Process?

Blogging – I write from heart to keyboard, and then read, re-read, re-read, fine tuning the piece. Sometimes I will leave a post for a few hours and then read it again to get a fresh perspective. I like to plan to create ahead of time, but more often I end up creating immediately prior to posting. I will not hit the ‘Publish’ button unless I am absolutely happy with my post.

Book Writing – I use exactly the same process, especially with poetry. Reading a poem can often draw attention to a bad line or difficult rhythm. My intended book of poetry is being reviewed, although, it was completed well over six-months ago. Who Said I was up for Adoption? was completed over a nine-month period, but took an additional eighteen-months to polish well enough to publish.


“If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world because dog lovers exist in every country. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’s Humane Society.” – Colin Chappell


11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas or Genres of Reading and Writing?

I have little time for reading fiction — JRR Tolkein being the exception. It’s not that I don’t enjoy fiction, but more that I want to understand more about people and the real world. I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’ poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need to relate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with fiction.


12. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?

Write… write… write.

Be honest to yourself.

Write… write… write.

Use blogging as much as you can because there is so much support out there in the blogging world for novice writers.

Write… write… write.

If you are pleased with what you write, then what other people think of it is secondary.

Write… write… write.

If you are not pleased with what you write, you need to spend time finding why you are unhappy with it. Once you have identified the problem, you can start working on the solution — Very logical!


“I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’ poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need to relate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with a fictional piece of writing.” – Colin Chappell


13. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share Pertinent to Yourself or Writing?

I have volunteered in numerous diverse places over the years, and every position I held was valuable education for me. It was valuable both because of the work involved and in the learning it provided me.

I support a number of charitable organizations which help people regain their self-respect and of course, I support animal rescue organizations. Life has been and still is, a wonderful education; however, one must always participate in life to see any results.


14. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs You Like to Follow? What Do You Like About Them?

I really do not have favorite blogs, but I do enjoy more philosophical blogs as they are thought provoking. Dog related blogs are interesting simply because I can relate to the topics presented. Any post I read that promotes a positive mental attitude maintains my attention. In a world which seems to celebrate negativity, we need as many positive vibes as possible!


15. Here is a Piece From Colin’s Blog, One of His Favorite Poetic Verse Posts:

“Skeeta’s Legacy”

By Colin Choppell

*****

Skeeta was a Siamese cat

Of distinction so we thought

She was rather unlike her breed

Friendly and quite large

I had known a few Siamese

But none had traits like these

*****

She would ride in our car

On top of the front seats

Swaying whenever I braked

Forwards and backwards

Sideways on the turns

We would laugh until we ached

*****

Then one day she clearly had changed

Her clean toilet habits had gone

Something was wrong we were sure

She used to be meticulously clean

A test revealed leukemia

With no treatment. No cure

*****

After living with us

For only three months

Dearest Skeeta was put to sleep

But she left her mark

Indelibly on my heart

With memories that I would keep

*****

She went to a better place

To join her kind and be without pain

Where cats are happy and free

To be as I’d want her to be

But Skeeta left a legacy behind

Unbeknownst at the time to me

*****

Many years later when Ray moved in

He tested positive for heart worm

After only three months in our home

What were our options? What to do?

A very serious condition

And he could not fight it alone

*****

We could return him, put him to sleep

Or do nothing which would eventually kill him

What would make the most sense?

For such a short and unhappy life

An expensive course of treatment

Could we justify the expense?

*****

The treatment he may not survive

But shouldn’t we at least try?

For perhaps survive he would

Shouldn’t we give him a chance?

A chance for his life to fulfill?

To live out his life being loved?

*****

Euthanizing would give him peace

Not 3 years old with an unknown past

His early life seemed hard and alone

Surely a dog has a right

To fight for his life

In a warm and caring home?

*****

To return him to the shelter

Raised problems of another sort

Who would adopt a very sick Ray?

Who would want his vet bills?

Who would open their home?

Who would invite him to stay?

*****

During these dilemmas I heard a voice

Reminding me of Skeeta long ago

With no hope of a cure in sight

How she was put down

Her future sealed by a disease

That cheated her out of her life

*****

But this time was different

Ray did have a chance

If treatment started right away

The decision just had to be made

And then hope for the time

When once again he could play

*****

Ray will never know

What influenced his future

Or how it came to be

That a cat, of all creatures,

May have saved his life

That was Skeeta’s legacy.


16. Additional Posts:


Thanks so much to Colin for sharing with us his book, poetry, love for Ray, and his experience in life and writing. I loved discovering he both searches inside himself to find the right answers and also engages with the world to learn and discover the things he needs to know. His love of learning and passion for volunteering is something we can all aspire to.


If you would like to be featured as a writer and blogger in my bi-weekly interview series please reach-out to me on my contact page. Thanks for reading and see you in two-weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

Advertisements

Fall Beauty Haul 2016 Part One


Happy Friday everyone. I’ve been meaning to do a beauty haul for a while for those of you who appreciate makeup and beauty products. This will be the first half of the new products I’ve tried since spring and I will do the second half either on the weekend or early next week.

In my opinion when you buy makeup, you often get what you pay for. This does not mean a $300.00 beauty cream is better than a $75.00 cream. But I do find a difference between drugstore brand makeup and skincare and higher-end beauty products one might find at Sephora or in a department store. Sephora makeup for instance, is often better quality depending on the brand and ingredients. The makeup lasts longer, works better, and depending on the product, can save you money in the long run.

However, there are always cheaper products which break the rules. And drugstore makeup products are improving in quality and have improved a great deal in quality since I first used them as a teenager around eighteen-years-ago. I do have a bit of variety in price point for products I’ve been trying lately.


  1. Kat Von D – Shade + Light Contour Quad – In Plum – Matte Finish – (www.sephora.ca)$34.00 CAN (three additional colour pallets to choose from).
fall-beauty-haul-kat-von-d-eyeshadow
Kat Von D Eye Shadow Quad In Plum (www.sephora.ca)

I was searching on Sephora one day, for that perfect palette to create a pink and purple eye. I was concerned mainly, that the palette have a light purple-pink colour.

It’s a colour which appears great on women with blond hair and winter skin colouring. I also wanted the pink to be in a palette because individual eyes shadows alone can cost $25 dollars and up so I feel if you’re going to use even some of the other colours in a pallet, it’s usually a better deal to buy a palette.

I ended up choosing an eye shadow quad in plum by Kat Von D. Outside of her foundation, I have never tried products from her brand before. I know she is an extremely artistic woman with many beautiful tattoos and had her own tattoo show and I’m pleased with her makeup brand so far.

The pigment of each eye shadow colour in the Plum quad is excellent and there is not a lot of fall-out when you’re applying the eyeshadow to your eyelids and eye area. I also liked how the colour you are supposed to apply all over your eyelid and above, is bigger than the other eye shadows. This makes sense because you use more of that colour than any other colour.

My only problem is this bigger-sized eye shadow in the plum palette is not a good colour for me. While the other colours are more wintry colours, this shade is a fall colour and too orange for my complexion. It didn’t appear that way on the Sephora website — this is a reason its sometimes good to see the products you are purchasing in store.

Nonetheless, this didn’t bother me because all the other eyeshadow colours in the quad are colours I will use and have used a lot. I put a different lighter colour underneath which is more of a cool light-brown.

The idea of a contouring palette is that having a darker crease area and highlighting in certain places on your eye, will make your eyes pop and be a defining feature on your face. For the most part, I’m impressed with this eye shadow quad and would be willing to try other Kat Von D products in the future as they are also reasonably priced.


2. Joe Fresh Lip Gloss – In Fresh Glass – (Shoppers Drug Mart or Superstore) – $8.00 CAN aprox.

beauty-haul-fall-2016-joe-fresh-lip-gloss
Joe Fresh Lip Gloss in Fresh Glass – Shoppers Drug Mart or Superstore (in store).

So in Canada, are main drugstore is Shoppers Drug Mart. They carry drugstore brands as well as high-end makeup. They were bought out by Superstore a grocery store chain. This hasn`t changed anything except that brands from Superstore, are now appearing in Shoppers Drug Mart such as Joe Fresh and President’s Choice.

My local Shoppers isn’t great in terms of their variety of beauty products because it’s in a poorer neighbourhood and people tend to steal. They did, however, start carrying Joe Fresh Make Up which is inexpensive and from the women I`ve talked to,  decent makeup.

You can always use a lippy so I decided to choose a Joe Fresh lip gloss from Shoppers Drug Mart in a darker rose-pink tube. I thought the gloss would be coloured but it’s clear. In fact, whatever name or colour the tube of lip gloss was, I found they were all the same clear colour called Fresh Glass. I think it’s deceptive to name each tube a different colour and then only have clear lip gloss.

Another weird thing about the Joe Fresh makeup line is it cannot be bought online. Shoppers Drug Mart does feature the products on their website, but you have to go in store to Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada or Superstore to buy Joe Fresh makeup.

Over all, I`m pleased with this Joe Fresh lip gloss. It’s extremely moisturizing and not sticky at all. It stays on your lips a long time. I`m disappointed I couldn’t buy a coloured lip gloss but for around $8.00 CAN, I`m not complaining. It was a great purchase.


3. Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation – Waterproof and Longwear – Full Coverage – Matte Finish – Oil Free – Shade 0.5 (fair porcelain) – (www.sephora.ca or http://www.beautyboutique.ca) – $49.00

urban-decay-all-nighter-waterproof-longwear-liquid-foundation
Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Longwear Liquid Foundation – Full Coverage – Matte Finish – Oil Free (www.sephora.ca or http://www.beautyboutique.ca)

I lucked out finding this foundation. I loved my Make Up Forever Matte Foundation but I kept running out every month and a half. It’s not a bad lifespan for a foundation for me but the All Nighter Foundation by Urban Decay lasts much longer for around the same price.

All Nighter is a brand new liquid foundation from Urban Decay and Shoppers Drug Mart also carries it in store or online at http://www.beautyboutique.com. What’s even better about this foundation then the Make Up Forever Matte Foundation (which I would still use) is that my shade o.5 is a bit lighter than the my Make Up Forever shade and it blends into my fair skin better.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s difficult to find foundation when you’ve such pale skin but still need some coverage. Sometimes, you have to use the lightest foundation shade you can find and later upon wearing it in daylight find, it isn’t light enough or appears too orange for pale skin. For winter, this is a better foundation in for me, but I might go a shade up for in summer time.

All Nighter also lasts even longer than the Make Up Forever Matte Foundation — a full 24 hours. Both foundations are waterproof and have a matte finish so on that account, their equal. As well, neither foundation since they are matte and oil free, are better for oilier skin types and don’t make me break-out. The Urban Decay foundation sure does last longer by far.

Literally, two dots of foundation from the pump on the back of my hand and I dab the foundation over my entire face and into my neck and blend with my foundation brush. The All Nighter foundation blends even better than its Make Up Forever counterpart and I need to use so little of it. I have to be careful I don’t make the dots of foundation on my hand too big or I will put too much of the Urban Decay foundation on my face. I totally recommend this foundation, it’s so worth it and there are twenty-four foundation shades to pick from.

The only issues I see with this foundation are if you aren’t looking for full coverage foundation, this isn’t the foundation for you. Also, if your skin is dry you probably want to choose a creamier foundation, something that is has more moisture in it. You could apply more moisturizer under this foundation but I do think it is better for women with oilier or combination skin types.


4. Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil in Blonde or Cool Taupe – (www.sephora.ca) – $30.00 CAN

Since I started to define my brows, I have used the Benefit Brow pencil which cost

anastasis-beverly-hills-perfect-brow-pencil
Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil In Blond (www.sephora.ca)

$30.00 CAN, the same amount as the Anastasia Brow Pencil. The brow pencil shade I used was pretty much the same colour as well. However, Benefit decided to change their brow pencils and make them thinner in both options they carry. This isn’t good for me as the Benefit brow pencils are soft and in a thinner pencil, I would use it too quickly.

The lady who helped me at Sephora said Anastasia was one of the first makeup artists to care about brow appearance, beyond filling them in a bit if you had sparse brows.

While the Benefit pencil looked the same as the Anastasia brow pencil it was a much softer pencil and I used it within about two-months. I didn’t like how soft the Benefit brow pencil was at first but I grew used to it because a softer pencil meant you didn’t have to use as much product.

Since I have switched to the Anastasia brow pencil, I find it much harder than Benefit’s discontinued brow pencil. It may mean it will last longer than the Benefit brow pencil did but, on the other hand, I find I use the Anastasia brow pencil differently. I use it to fill in my brows and trace around my brows. Since the pencil is harder, it does not spread over my brow as easily as the Benefit brow pencil did.

I do need to fill in my brow to get a fuller appearing brow with the Anastasia brow pencil and then blend it with the spooly on the end. With the Benefit brow pencil I traced around my brow and blended it, no need to fill in my brow because the pencil spread easily.

I’m happy with the Anastasia Perfect Brown Pencil and becoming used to working with a harder brow pencil.  I’ll let you know if this one lasts longer than two-months. I’m positive so far, it will last longer than two-months which is always easier on the budget. The Anastasia brow pencil comes in eight varied brow shades.


5. NYX Matte Finish Long Lasting Setting Spray – MSS01 – (www.ulta.com and Shoppers Drug Mart in store) – $10.99 CAN or $8.99 on sale ($7.99 US)

nyx-cosmetics-matte-finish-makeup-setting-spray
NYX Matte Finish, Long Lasting MakeUp Setting Spray (www.ulta.com and Shoppers Drug Mart in store)

This is possibly my best purchased cheap product. I’ve heard good things about the NYX makeup brand even though it is a cheaper drugstore brand. I had tried an Urban Decay setting spray earlier in the year which was about $17.00 CAN in Sephora for a small-sized bottle (1 oz.). Like he NYX Matte Finish Spray, it was oil free and set my makeup so it did’t run or come off on a pillow case (much) if I napped. Both sprays also never let my makeup melt in the day. For most occasions, using a finishing spray on my makeup means I do not need to wear a primer underneath.

A couple of other beauty bloggers I recall reading, raved about the NYX Setting Spray which is available in both Matte and Dewy finishes. As I have combination oily skin, I chose the Matte finish. Some girls who were looking at the spray in store, expressed concerns about it causing them to break-out more.

I did find I had to let my skin become used to wearing the NYX setting spray. I broke-out a tiny bit but not a lot. Now I don’t break-out wearing it at all. I bought the spray at Shoppers Drug Mart on sale for $8.99. I have had it for over two-months and there is still setting spray left in the bottle which is 2.02 oz and a much better deal than buying a small Urban Decay Setting Spray for $17.00. I have used the NYX Setting Spray daily as I did the Urban Decay one.

Urban Decay originally came out with a makeup setting spray. They have several kinds you can choose from in a larger bottle that is $38.00 Can (4 oz) at Sephora or Shoppers Drug Mart (www.beautyboutique.ca).

The smaller version they offer only lasts one month (1 oz). I would like to test to see if  the $38.00 (4 oz) Urban Decay Makeup Setting Spray which is almost twice the size of the NYX spray (2.02 oz), might be a better option if it lasts double the amount of time. It would need to last at least four or five-months.When I have some Optimum points from Shoppers Drug Mart, I might try the bigger version of the Urban Decay Setting Spray in Oil Free.

For now, I’m extremely satisfied with the NYX Matte Setting Spray for Makeup. If I can buy it on sale for $8.99 CAN, I think it’s similar or the same product as the Urban Decay sprays for a better value or less money spent at once. Has anyone tried both products and has an opinion on whether they like the NYX or Urban Decay Spray better and why?

That’s it for today’s Fall Beauty Haul. I’ll be back with a Part Two later.


©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.